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Effective Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses

In Conversation with Chad Treadway

For this episode of E-coffee with Experts, Ranmay Rath interviewed Chad Treadway, Partner and Chief “Smarketing” Officer of Cube Creative Design, an inbound business growth agency located in Newark, Delaware.

Chad Treadway talks about common marketing mistakes and the significance of differentiating yourself from the competition. He placed a strong emphasis on content generation, optimization, and Google My Business listings.

Watch the episode now for some profound insights!

A lot of times sales is on one side of the building and marketing is on the other side, and they don’t talk, my goal is to make sure that I bring sales and marketing together with our clients

Chad Treadway
Partner and Chief “Smarketing” Officer of Cube Creative Design
Chad Treadway's headshot

Hey, Hi everyone. This is Ranmay here, your host tonight for E-Coffee with Experts. Today, we have Cube Creatives designs. He’s a partner and Chief “Smarketing” Officer the way he wants to introduce. So thank you. Thank you, Chad, for taking out your time for the show today.

Oh, it’s great to be here. I’m excited to talk about everything we’re gonna talk about.

Sure. Before we move on, I request you to introduce yourself to our audiences and what have done so far in the initial space, and from there on, we’ll take it forward.

Yeah, so I am Chad Treadway with Cube Creative Design. I am the chief “Smarketing” officer slash partner with the agency. So essentially my role is to do sales and marketing. So if you’re familiar with HubSpot and Dan Tire, he says sales and marketing should be aligned.

A lot of times sales is on one side of the building and marketing is on the other side, and they don’t talk, my goal is to make sure that I bring sales and marketing together with our clients. I deal a lot with small businesses that wear a lot of hats. So they’re the entrepreneur, they’re the manager, and they’re also the technician.

And sales and marketing sometimes is the last thing on their mind. They’re good at doing what they do, but they need help with the selling process or they need help with the marketing process. And that’s where I can come in and help them

Great. Yeah, we have all, we have often seen that marketing and sales operate in silos and that is where it kinda becomes very less productive than it should be the case.

Yeah. A very good point was raised there. Talking about local businesses, what are some common mistakes that small businesses make when it comes to marketing strategy? And how can they avoid them, if you can, probably throw some light on that.

Probably the biggest thing I see is a lack of a strategy. And then probably is, “if I have inserted a social media profile here. And that is my website.” That is not a website. I’m gonna quote Joe Pulizzi here. He coined a, I don’t know if he coined a phrase, but he uses a lot that’s “rented land”.

So social media is great. I’m not discounting social media at all. It’s good if that’s all you can afford, but that is a page on Facebook’s website. It is not your website whatsoever. Several years ago Facebook came in and moved the road, so to speak, and it’s much more of a pay-to-play kind of thing. So I tell people, I’m like, yeah, you’ve got a Facebook page and everything, and that’s all well and good, but you need somewhere to drive that traffic back to someplace that you own. Like I’ll typically use an analogy of I have two buildings here. You can rent this building, or you can own this building.

It’s gonna cost you the same. Which would you rather do? Oh, I would rather own the building. Of course, you would. So why are you renting your building from Facebook when you can own yours? And they’re like, oh, that makes sense.

Absolutely. Lack of strategy is one of the, Who get new businesses. So they do it right. You and talking about small businesses and their competition, right? It’s more or less a waste of local competition waste at times. So according to you, how can a small business stand out from its competitors and such a clouded market and what are some of the creative tactics that they can use to do so?

Yeah. Obviously. I have a digital marketing agency. So I’m always gonna tell you your websites, what you own, spend if you’re gonna spend money, spend it there. Paid advertising’s great, but you’re just lining the coffers of Google when you pump money into pay-per-click and things like that.

And I’m not discounting pay-per-click. It’s great if you need that kind of initial jolt shot in the arm kind of thing. I much prefer the content marketing kind of style. I jokingly tell people, and it always works well if they have children, it’s just like very much like having a child.

You sign this contract and this flurry of emotion and then it’s like a month later you’re like, oh God, what did I do? Or what did we do, kind of thing? And then, six to nine months later, I delivered this little bundle of joy, which is all your sales and leads that come in. With the small businesses, I deal with, it may be a solopreneur or they may have three to five employees. One of the largest small businesses that I have, it’s got probably about 60 employees total. He has a pest control company, so he’s probably at the higher end of the spectrum as far as the employee count that I have. And he has a massive territory he covers, but what we’ve done like with him because he does cover a lot of the rural area, where I’m at is, we’ve incorporated what I call geographic landing pages. Some people may call them a city page or a local landing page, or something like that. Essentially it talks about a service and a geographic location. We can use a plumber for example, so it may be, home replumbing, whatever city you’re in.

And I’ve seen that work well for my rural clients. And if you’re, and I’ve seen it work well in more metropolitan areas as well. Google typically wants a, if you’re a service area business, they typically want like an hour radius kind of thing. Where we were talking in the green room.

I’m getting, when I leave this meeting, I’m getting ready to drive 45 minutes to go to another meeting. And it’s nothing for us in a rural area to drive 30 to 45 minutes, just to get to where we need to go. I know people, who drive an hour to work and they live in the same county.

Great, you also touched upon the content piece, right? Can you please elaborate on what role content creation and optimization play in a small business SEO strategy and, how can they create content that is both engaging and optimized for search engines at the same time?

So I’m gonna reference a book. They ask you to answer by Marcus Sheridan if no one’s ever heard of him. They need to look him up. If you’ve never read the book, I highly recommend it. It’s the one that helped turn my marketing career around and it. I read his book and then I went and read oh, what’s his name?

He wrote Purple Cow. I like reading Purple Cow. After I read they asked for your answer. I’m just like, yeah, you’re saying the same thing. It’s just a much more complicated way, but I come from blue-collar roots. If you can explain it to me in a blue-collar, simple kind of way, that’s where my mind goes.

So I highly recommend it. So basically what he says in the book is ask, whatever questions you’re getting asked, you answer those questions on your website. So he was a pool guy, so every question he had about a fiberglass pool, He answered on the website. There are all kinds of other layers that you can do in there.

There’s, you can do best of the list, you can do comparisons, things like that. That’s one of the things that, you know Willis uses my pest control client. So one of their most visited pages is what is like the x number of signs of snakes around my home. Like he’s getting all kinds of traffic over it, and it’s nationwide traffic and he has this huge network of people and everything. So when he gets a lead that’s, in Alabama or whatever, he sends it to his friend down in Alabama that’s covering that area, but he’s just like, why am I getting all this? I’m just like, that’s what we want because you’re showing up in Google for those, so if you’re showing up nationwide, you know you’re showing up locally.

And he just kinda looked at me and said, okay.

I see. When we talk about content, how do you go about identifying the most relevant keywords for any business? You can take the example of one of your clients. Yeah. And how do you go about those relevant keywords?

Yeah. Well, we used to use Moz and then we switched to Sem Rush.

Of all the tools out there, there are AHFs SpyFu and Moz, and all of them are good products. But we’ll look at what’s the top keyword that people are looking for, according to the software and all the stats and everything. And then we start building our content plan around it.

And with our clients, we usually do a 12-month content plan. To figure out how much they need, I may go in and if there’s, they might have, a company that, it may be a startup, and they’re going up against a company that’s been in business for, 120 years, but, behind them, they have a crappy website and they’re not doing any kind of content.

It’s just Here we are. I’m running off my reputation and my name in the community, and then I’m able to come in and do a blog and a landing page and next thing you know, in, nine months, you’re out-ranking them for everything and you’re taking their lunch money and they’ve been in business for 120 years.

And then it’s just what are you doing to get all these leads? And it’s my website guy. I hate when they just say that I’m their website guy, but you know what? If they’re signing a check, they come with it whatever they want

Right. Talking about GMV, how can small businesses effectively optimize the Google my business listings in order to drive home more traffic?

So Google changed the name of it because Google likes to change the names of everything. So at the Google business profile, it doesn’t roll off the tongue quite as well. But I like to tell people that the Google business profile was theirs when they shuttered Google Plus because nobody used it unless you were a Google employee.

They basically shuttered it and then turned it back around and said, okay, we’re gonna market this to businesses. And that’s how you show up, I call it the three-pack. I’ve heard it called the local pack. Different things. So having a Google profile, which is usually if you’re looking on the desktop, it’s over on the right side.

That is where everything is. And I tell you if Google is the gateway to the internet, that is your digital front door. If you are, especially if you’re a service area business, you have to have a Google profile. If you are a retail business, which I don’t deal with a lot of retail businesses, but if you are a brick-and-mortar retail business, you’ve got to have that.

If you are a restaurant, you need to have it. Honestly, if you are a business that is allowed to have one, there’s no need not to have one. And it’s not hard to do, but a lot of people, they’ll do it, but they don’t. Do it to the level they need to. Like they do the bare minimum and they don’t go in and optimize it.

Like I have a client and a friend, who’s a real estate photographer, and she can go in and do the 3D renders and everything and she can actually upload it directly to Google. I’m working with a client right now and that’s one of the things we’re gonna do. We’re gonna have her come in and scan their offices and it’s a massage therapy and that stuff.

So they’re gonna come in and scan the rooms and show all that stuff. This way when someone comes to it, they, if they want to go through and take a tour of the building and feel more comfortable before they go in, they can. That’s one of the big things that I like, and honestly just driving people to get reviews like we’ve got.

We’re an agency partner with a company that will help you solicit reviews. And that’s one of the things too, a lot of people will do is they’ll get reviews, but then they’ll want to try to, I don’t wanna say bribe, but that’s the word that comes to mind. They’re like, they want to incentivize getting a review.

So they’re like, I’ll give you x, y, z if you’ll leave me a Google review. If you’re getting something, you’re more likely to leave a positive review, which is actually against it. Every one of the review company’s terms of service doesn’t matter if it’s TripAdvisor or Yelp, or Google. I love them.

But that’s one of the things that I’ve seen work really well, is getting a lot of good reviews and I’ll have, I’ll always have to have this conversation. I’m like, okay, we’re gonna, you need to go get reviews. But the thing is, you can’t just get this influx of reviews and then sit on them.

You’ve got to respond to them A and then B, you can’t wait. Like another quarter or another, two or three months or whatever it is, or another year, and then try to go get them again because you need to consistently do it. Google loves consistency and that circles back around to that content thing.

I failed to mention, so anytime that you can be consistent, so if you’re doing blogging, even if it’s just one blog a month, you just keep chipping away at it because I’ve had a lot of clients, it’s oh, we’re gonna blog, we’re gonna do this, we’re gonna do that. And then you go back three months later and they’ve written three blogs and you go back another three months and then three blogs are still up there because they got busy.

And I’ve gone in and talked to clients and, they’ve done all this stuff and everything, and then, they get all the leads and get busy and everything, and then they stop and then they’ll get unbusy again, and then they go back into it again.

Yeah. Talking about reviews as well.

From what we have seen out of our experience with the clients, it has to be a more organic process and a continuous one like you mentioned. And they have these responses. Even if a good review, bad review, or feedback, all of them get those standardized responses.

So that kinda has an impact. And do you guys use any software? How do you go about generating those reviews? What is your process at Cube Creatives?

If we have a client that utilizes the software we tell them, definitely go in and try to respond to the reviews, make it as human as possible because that’s the key, as smart as Google is, it’s only getting smarter, but you’ll never, it’ll never be as smart as the human side of it.

So if you can go in and respond as a human that’s always better. I have a client, who’s an auto mechanic and his parking lot stays full. He is literally in an old gas station with two bays and another little metal building beside it. Now he doesn’t have time to go in and respond to reviews, but now he gets reviews all the time.

And I even like to encourage him to get more reviews. I printed a sheet with a QR code that would direct them to the Google thing. I said, put this at your checkout, like tape it down and just, Hey, would you go leave me a review, just scan the code there, kind of thing. And he always usually gets good reviews and if he gets a bad review, It’s usually because he didn’t get to somebody’s vehicle soon enough.

And I’m like, how do I combat that? Because it just says that you’re that good, that you’re too busy to get to this person’s car.

Talking about the reviews, online liquidation management is also one important aspect of it. Yeah. How do you go about handling that piece for your customer?

So you said, like online optimization?

Online Reputation

Oh, online. Yeah. So there again, it’s just like we typically use the software. We, as I said, we’re an agency partner with a company called Bird Eye. It helps us monitor that. Because I don’t know how any small business could really do it on their own.

Unless you had a single person and they were doing all of it. And then even then, I don’t know that they could monitor everything out there on the web. If you get a review, like Google will email you or whatever, and I have. Been sitting in my armchair on a Saturday night and saw my phone blink up. I had a client who got a bad review and I was like that’s odd.

So I texted him and I was like, did you know you got a bad review? And I took a screenshot or whatever. He called the guy. He was like, what? What’s up with this bad review? Called him right then. And, directly addressed the issue offline. And then the guy went back and raised the stars on it or whatnot.

But it’s one of those things that I rely on the automated process for somebody like that. Cause they just don’t wanna go to the expense of having it constantly monitored and bad reviews come through like that. I’ll let them know. Sometimes I might wait till, like if it was a Saturday night on other clients, I might wait till Monday or whatever.

But, it’s one of those things that it’s using, some kind of AI automation, that kind of thing. Use the current 2023 buzzword. To monitor it for you is gonna be the best way. But it’s also being there to take the time to respond to the review. So it’s not a set-it-and-forget-it kind of thing.

Like you constantly have to be vigilant. If you’re gonna let automation handle it, you still have to watch to make sure that you’re dealing with it. So if you get a bad review on Yelp, then you need to go handle that there, because a lot of times if somebody’s mad, they’ll leave a review everywhere they can.

Absolutely. Absolutely. And, talking about engaging or creating engaging social media content, what are some of the best practices that new people follow for creating engaging social media content that resonates with the renewed audience for the masters out there?

Yeah. So there again, take all the content that you’re developing on your website, Break that up into little dot-size chunks, and then feed that out to social media. The main thing I tell clients about social media is a lot of people think of it as, going back to a traditional kind of thing, like a newspaper ad or a magazine ad or whatever.

They think they can just sell out there. And I’m like, if you sell, you’re gonna get turned off. You’ve got to keep the human side of it and show that human interest side and that’s a little harder for some people. And also, unfortunately, I work with a lot of service, trades, and things and, somebody will do something stupid over the weekend and then get in trouble, and then you’ve got them, their photo, or their image plastered all over your social media and you’ve gotta go pull it off.

So they’re more hesitant to put that out there. So I tell them, okay, if you don’t wanna put their face, just get back their heads. Before I came to Cube Creative, I worked at a community college and instead of having to get waivers from students and things, we just always made sure we got backs of heads because we had a basic law enforcement program in there too. And some of these people that went through that program, they’re maybe undercover narcotics officers or something. Or, may go on up to like state level or federal level, law enforcement agencies and everything. And you do not want their photo out there through a basic law enforcement program.

With you. And I’m sure that our audience would have benefited a lot in terms of the insights, which you shared on the show tonight. And thank you so much for taking our time and we’ll try and get you on for another episode, on local SEO strategy at large.

Yeah. But yeah, thank you so much for taking your time for the show tonight. I appreciate it.

Yo, you’re welcome.

Yeah. Thank you. Thank you, Chad.

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